Espargaró beats Redding to Losail victory

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Sunday, 7 April 2013

Tuenti HP 40’s Pol Espargaró has converted pole position into the opening Moto2™ race victory of 2013, but only after a spirited battled with Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding. Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami led in the opening stages before going on to achieve a career-first podium finish.

Espargaró had delivered a last-gasp lap to grab pole on Saturday, but it was Nakagami who led Sunday’s race as the pack battled for the first time this year. Behind, Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2’s Ratthapark Wilairot jumped the start and was forced to take a ride-through penalty, whereas Tech 3’s Louis Rossi, Tuenti HP 40’s Axel Pons and QMMF Racing Team’s Anthony West were all early fallers.

More crashes came later into the race, as the stewards looked into investigating a coming together between Jir Moto2’s Mike de Meglio – coming from a pit lane start after a problem on the Warm-Up lap – and NGM Mobile Racing’s Mattia Pasini, which left the latter out of the race. Pasini’s teammate Ricard Cardús was taken to the Medical Centre following an incident, as Wilairot became the sixth and final retirement.

Redding had settled in behind Nakagami at the front, but took his chance to shoot into the lead at the start of the ninth tour, narrowly avoiding contact with his rival’s left knee. Watching the battle unfold, Espargaró posted the fastest lap and quickly proceeded to dispatch with Nakagami, who was unable to maintain the pace of the pair in front but was still pleased with a his maiden podium finish.

Espargaró’s crucial move on Redding for the lead came with five laps to go, with the Englishman losing out on the start/finish straight but managing to keep up in the twisty infield section. There was almost contact between the duo as Redding strived to retake the lead on the final lap, but losing ground allowed the Spaniard to win in Qatar for the first time – crossing the line just under one second ahead.

Fourth position went to Dominique Aegerter and Technomag carXpert, just edging ahead of second Marc VDS rider Mika Kallio as Italtrans’ Julián Simón finished where he started, in sixth place. The top ten was completed by NGM Mobile pair Simone Corsi and Alex de Angelis plus Tuenti HP 40’s Esteve Rabat and Desguaces La Torre Maptaq’s Xavier Simeon.

Moto2™ continues in a fortnight’s time, as the championship heads to Austin, Texas and Circuit of the Americas for the first time.

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